CRCT (CKGW)-AM, Toronto

Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission

CRCT-AM19338405,000Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
CKGW-AM19269105,000Gooderham & Worts Ltd.


CKGW began operations on 910 kHz with 5,000 watts of power. The station had the first commercially built 5,000 watt transmitter in the country. CKGW was owned by distiller Gooderham & Worts Ltd., and was known as Canada’s “Cheerio” station. The “GW” in the call sign represented the owner. (CKGW may have started in 1925 by G&W as CKCW, then changed the call sign to CKGW), Neville Naysmith was station Manager.  Don Copeland joined CJYC and left for CKGW a short time later. He became chief announcer and program director at CKGW and was known as Cheerio.


CKGW moved its studios to Toronto’s King Edward Hotel. Programs were fed from the studios to the transmitter by telephone line. The frequency changed from 910 kHz to 960 kHz. Power remained 5,000 watts.


CKGW 960 began sharing time with CFRB and CJBC. On March 5, at 8:00 p.m., CKGW began transmitting from Bowmanville. CKGW moved back to 910 kHz later in the year. Charles Jennings joined CKGW as an announcer.


Rex Frost directed and announced the “Castrol Hour” on CKGW and CFRB.


On October 2, at 6:00 p.m., CKGW moved back to 960 kHz with 5,000 watts, sharing time with CFRB and CJBC. A second listing has CKGW on 690 kHz with 5,000 watts. On November 28, at 10:00 p.m., CKGW became affiliated with the American NBC network.


On October 18, at 10:45 a.m., CKGW moved to 840 kHz with 5,000 watts power, sharing time with CNRT.


The April 8 edition of the Toronto Telegram had the headline: “Uncertain Situation of Radio in Dominion forces CKGW off air”. At this time, CKGW lost its daytime hours and broadcast only at night. The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (formed May 26, 1932) began leasing CKGW through the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Act. The call letters changed to CRCT at 8:00 a.m., May 30. The studios moved from the King Edward Hotel to the Canadian National Carbon Company’s factory on Davenport Road at Bathurst Street. CKGW took over the studios of CKNC which had been founded by Canadian National Carbon. The CRBC purchased the Canadian National Railway’s radio stations, including Toronto’s CNRT and CNRX on March 1. The CNR began radio experiments in 1922 and opened a radio service to trains in 1923. In 1924, it began to open its own stations and to lease others. It discontinued its service to trains in 1931. On October 1, CRCT’s frequency changed from 840 kHz to 960 kHz. Power remained 5,000 watts. The station had been sharing time on 840 with CHNC, CJBC and CPRY. On 960, it shared time with CKNC. The Canadian Pacific Railway’s phantom station CPRY, utilized the facilities of CKGW. Don Copeland hosted the “Cheerio Club” on CKGW from 1929 to 1933. When the C.R.B.C. took over CKGW, Charlie Shearer took over management of the station. In his two years with the station, he organized the first Canadian broadcasting to public schools. Charles Jennings moved over to the CRBC when it took over CKGW.


A judge gave Gooderham & Worts Ltd. judgement against the CBC for $25,000, for breach of covenant. The action had to do with the termination by the CBC of its lease of CKGW. (CKGW’s history continues under what is now CBLA-FM)

The story continues elsewhere…
Effective September 1st 2019, we will only be adding new material to these station histories in exceptional circumstances. Our intent to chronicle the early days of these radio and television stations has been achieved, and many new sources and technologies, from the CRTC website to Wikipedia, and others, are now regularly providing new information in these areas.

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